Are you often finding difficulty in knowing how to start a garden? You are not alone!
When I was just starting out as an urban gardener, I didn’t know what to plant. I did not know how to plant. However, I did my own research and listened to other people’s advice on gardening. I tried, and now I am happy to say that I am growing more vegetables everyday from my urban garden. If you want to know my secrets on how to start a garden, read on!
Here are some tips on how to start a garden. It is actually easy to know what to plant in a vegetable garden and how to take care of them until harvest. If you are good in planning your vegetable garden, you can enjoy the fruits of a bountiful garden without spending too much and without wasting too much time and effort on it. Your plants in the form of fruits, flowers and vegetables are your natural companions that will not only transform your world but will also bring many benefits to your health.
Just like any other endeavour, gardening takes a lot of planning. Are you going to start a vegetable garden, an herb garden or a flower garden? If you want to plant flowers, will you need to replant every year? What flower colours do you want? Do you like to plant perennials with a short blooming time but can be grown year after year? You can mix the flowers that you like, but start small so that you will lose less if anything goes wrong.
So, are you wondering how to start a garden?
In the case of vegetable gardens, it is also best to start small. Many people often get too excited at the start of a season and often end up planting more than what they need, so that they tend to get high yields which will only go to waste. Only think about what you and your family will eat when you are planning a vegetable garden. Vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes and squash often yield produce in all seasons so just plant what you only need. Some vegetables such as radishes and carrots only yield once a year so you can plant more of these.
If you are wondering how to start a garden, pick a nice spot. All vegetables and flowers need at least six hours of sunlight each day, so make sure that you choose a spot which can be reached by the sun every day. You should spend at least a day observing the movement of the sun above your chosen spot. It may be that your chosen spot receives more sunlight than what you originally thought. But do not be sad if you have a shaded area, because you can still plant vegetables, herbs and flowers which can tolerate lesser amounts of sunlight. Check with your local garden store as to what types of plants can tolerate shade; also know the sunlight requirements of each plant.
Also, choose a spot that is always near the place that you live in everyday; it may be near your back door, by the window or where you do your laundry. Make sure that the spot that you choose is near a water source so that you won’t have to carry water from afar just to water your plants.
Once you have already chosen the perfect spot, you should plan next on having a vegetable garden with enough space. Examine your seed packets and look at their spacing requirements. You actually don’t need a large amount of space to start with. If you want to grow your plants on containers, you wouldn’t even need a yard; you can just place your containers in a deck or in the balcony.
Good soil is also a prerequisite for a garden. Many vegetables can grow well in moist soil that is well-drained and is rich in organic matter. If you think your soil is not good enough, you can add some compost or moss.
If you are still wanting to know how to start a garden, you should design your garden. There are two types of garden layouts: row cropping and intensive cropping.
Row cropping is ideal if you want to start a vegetable garden. In this layout, you plant in a single file in rows and have a space in between each row for walking. If you plan on having a lot of produce, this garden layout may be good for you. You may need equipment such as tillers to get rid of weeds.
The disadvantage of row cropping is that you cannot have a lot of plants within a small space, because some space is being used up as a footpath rather than for planting. It’s not also visually pleasant. In this layout, you should allow at least 18 inches of space in between the rows so that you can have plenty of space to work with. You can place tall plants and those that need vertical supports on the north side of the garden. Examples of tall plants are tomatoes while those that need vertical support are cucumbers, snap peas and pole beans.
Intensive cropping, on the other hand, is used to plant vegetables using wide bands that measure one to four feet across each other. In this way, the size of the area needed for the paths is reduced but because of the close spacing of the plants, you have to remove weeds manually using your hands.
When you plant in a garden with rows, always remember that you should not create wider bands so that you can comfortably reach for things and work. The advantage that intensive cropping brings is that it allows you to design your garden effectively in your front yard. You can also mix flower plants and vegetable plants in your garden.
Intensive cropping can be done using a special version called the square foot method. This method divides the garden into several squares with each square getting a maximum of 16 plants, depending on the plants’ maturity.
You can also opt to leave some areas in your garden to be empty at first. This will soon allow you to plant a second cropping so that you can harvest later in another season. Some of the plants that will allow you to plant several times in a year are radishes, lettuce, onions, bush beans and carrots.
If you still are wondering how to start a garden, here is how to clear your spot. After securing your gardening space, the next thing that you should do is to clear it. You should get rid of the sod that is covering the area that you would like to plant on. You can use a newspaper or you can dig the soil in this area. Then spread a layer of compost over the area and wait for weeks for it to decompose.
Good soil is one of the determinants of success in gardening. If you want to know how to start a garden, you should enhance your soil well. To boost soil nutrients, you can place some organic matter on it. You can add decayed leaves, manure or dried grass. You should dig and mix this organic matter with the soil. If you do not want to dig, you can leave the matter on the surface of the ground and it will mix with the soil in just a few weeks.
It is often good to test your soil with the help of a gardening expert. This expert will guide you on the process and will tell you how much soil to send for testing, from which parts of the garden you will get the soil and the best time to get these soil samples. The report will be made available after about two weeks, after which you will know what your soil sample lacks and how to adjust it. You should test your soil before you start planting.
You should also check your drainage by pouring some water over your soil using a hose and digging the soil after 24 hours. After digging, take some soil in your hands and squeeze it. If water comes out of that soil, you should add some compost or some organic water to improve its drainage.
After scooping up some soil, you can open your hand and see if you have formed a ball of soil. If it does not form into shape, chances are, your soil is too sandy. Sandy soil needs some organic matter to encourage plant growth. If the ball of soil is hard, it means that there is too much clay in the soil and that you should also place some organic matter on it.
When ball breaks up into little pieces as you try to form a ball with it, this is already ideal, so you don’t need to add anything to it. If your soil is not draining water well, you may try starting a raised bed in your garden. To create a raised bed in an easier way, you may line up the bottom of your frames with some newspaper layers and then fill them with soil, so you don’t have to dig.
Still wanting to know how to start a garden well? You should consider whether to dig or not. If you dig, you will loosen up the soil and allow water to penetrate it easily. Do not dig if your soil is too wet or if it’s too dry. This can ruin your structure. You should dig only when your soil is moist so that you are able to make a loose ball with your hands but must be dry enough to scatter when you drop it. You can use a garden fork or a spade to turn the soil and mix with organic matter. For a flower garden, your soil should be turned once a year only before planting.
For perennial flowers, you can do double-digging, which is the removal of the top layer in soil, loosening it, and mixing it with organic matter. It will encourage more growth among perennial flowers. For vegetable gardens, you can loosen soil first before planting, using a tiller or your hands.
After loosening the soil, you can mix compost in it. Do not step on freshly tilled soil as you will make it compact and it will be harder for plants to grow. After digging, you should smoothen out the surface with a rake then place water on it. Then, leave the soil for a few days before you plant.
Still wanting to know how to start a garden? You should know how to choose your plants.
You can choose plants using catalogs or you can buy them from your local gardening store. Ask people in your store on what plants work best in your climate, soil and geography. You should also consider the amount of sunlight that your garden receives each day. You can also buy online and choose from website catalogs.
For beginners, the best things to plant every year are marigolds, geraniums, calendula, zinnias and sunflowers. Choose from pansies, daylilies, and coneflowers for perennials,. For vegetables, you can choose peppers, lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes. This is how to start a garden well.
Once you have already decided how to start a garden and what to plant in your garden, you should think that your possibilities are endless. You can initially find some varieties in the catalogs; pay attention to their descriptions. Each variety is often different; some plants are small and are ideal for small gardens or containers while others are disease-resistant and can have improved yields. Still some are cold or heat tolerant and have other characteristics.
You can choose from seed catalogs which are one of the best sources of vegetables. You can narrow choices down into two or three varieties that can match your garden and its qualities. In that way, if one of the varieties will grow poorly, you will have another variety to grow. You can grow the best performer for the next year.
There are many vegetables that can be started early in your indoor garden which can be obtained from your garden center. The advantage of this way is that you will have plants that already for harvest after only a short time only. Growing vegetables in your indoors is an easy thing to do yet it also requires some time and attention. This is the right way on how to start a garden!
If you have plants that are able to tolerate cold such as kale and pansies, you can better plant them during late winter or in the autumn. Plants that cannot tolerate cold such as tomatoes and annual flowers should not be planted during cold season. Perennial flowers are best planted in the middle of spring or autumn. You can check your garden center for more information on these.
There are some plants such as lettuce and sunflowers that are best grown as seeds, so you can directly sow then in your soil. You should read seed packets for more information on these, as well as the recommended spacing in between plants. Be sure to make plants get adequate sunlight and they are kept moist and not wet. You can buy some containers for your seedlings and then you can transfer them to soil later. Make sure to water your seedlings enough while they are small and taper off the amount of water when they are bigger.
Remove weeds from your garden bed by placing some plastic or mulch around the plots. You can also plant herbs that can guard against pests.
Urban gardening is not as challenging as you think. Now that you know how to start a garden, are you ready to start now? Feel free to check out our blog for the latest tips about gardening!
We are Urban Gardeners Republic, and we want to help people bring urban garden projects to life by guiding them along the way. Our experts can give you professional guidance on how to start building your garden on the right track. They have been there, have done that, and now it’s time to pass it forward. Schedule a meeting with us to get Experts Guidance, and let’s plan together for your future garden setup. Ask us anywhere and anytime! We have a custom-made plan that will save you time and money. Contact us now!
Featured Image from @botanicalbogota
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